Wadume: Malami clears air on prosecution of “indicted” soldiers




Minister of Justice & AGF, Abubakar Malami

By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has cleared the air on the allegation that his office is shielding soldiers linked with kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, otherwise known as Wadume from prosecution.
Speaking to the State House Correspondents on Wednesday in Abuja, the AGF revealed that there are two options, either to charge the soldiers before the Court Martial which is a Special Court established by law for the trial of soldiers or in the  alternative for the military after consummation of the in-house processes should consider handing them over for trail.
Malami said what has happened is perhaps a delay for a limited time to allow the processes recognized and realize by law to be consummated as it relates to the prosecution by the military as recognized by law and not in any way intended to accord them protection in order to prevent them from being presented before the court.  Malami states:
“On Wadume’s case, I will like you to note for the record that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation is constitutionally established to consider an interest of justice, public interest and ensure the absence of abuse in the judicial process.
“Now, coming to the issue of the soldiers, it is important for you to note that within the context of the Nigerian law, there are certain provisions that are exclusive to the military within the context of law on court martial and then the internal discipline associated with the military. 
“The soldiers can now be charged before court martial and then for the military to release their personnel for prosecution, ordinary there are in-house processes and procedures that are to be consummated. So those that are handy for the purpose of prosecution cannot be held in custody for unduly longer period of time on the account or the absence of the military.
“So that is how the idea of severing the charge to allow those that are handy to stand their trail arose. That does not mean that by any means that the military are shielded and cannot be prosecuted. But if they have to be prosecuted, they have to be prosecuted within the context of the law. 
“What is the law here? They are military personnel, first they are to go through the in-house processes. There are two options, either to charge them before the court martial which is a special court established by law for the trial of soldiers or in the  alternative for the military after consummation of the in-house processes should consider handing them over for trail.
“So, what has happened is perhaps a delay for a limited time to allow the processes recognized and realize by law to be consummated as it relates to the prosecution by the military as recognized by law and not in any way to intended to accord them protection in order to prevent them from being presented before the court. I hope that is clear.”

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